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Patrick Kane wasn’t answering, but questions had to come regardless

The old saying goes that the duty of a newspaper is to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.

There’s a raging battle going on in this city over whether Patrick Kane is the afflicted or the comfortable, the victim or the victimized, in his current legal troubles. That was no more apparent than on Thursday, when Kane met the media on the eve of Blackhawks training camp.

Judging by Twitter, people were not happy with questions about Kane’s drinking habits. It didn’t matter that the Hawks star refused to answer any inquiries about a grand jury investigation or his off-ice habits, obviously on the advice of his attorney. Some fans seemed upset that Kane would even be subjected to such questions. I’m not sure what they thought. That because the team declared his personal life off limits at the news conference, reporters would meekly go along with the declaration?

The Hawks might have been able to control the answers, but they couldn’t control the questions.

The media – and Chicago — have every right to ask whatever it wants of Kane, who has had past problems with the law and has embarrassed the franchise about three times too many. Nothing was out of bounds when he, president John McDonough, general manager Stan Bowman and coach Joel Quenneville decided to meet the media.

That includes a question about whether Kane believes he has a drinking problem, which he politely declined to answer. But it needed to be asked because it could have something to do with the grand jury investigation, his on-ice performance and his future with the team. It also gave Kane the opportunity to say that, contrary to the raging rumors swirling around him, he’s a responsible drinker.

Share Events on The CubeI don’t know whether Kane is guilty of anything, whether he’s the afflicted or the comfortable. I just know that every topic was fair game at the news conference.

We have almost no details about what happened between him and a woman inside his Hamburg, N.Y., home in early August. Thursday was the time to ask, even if nobody was answering.